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1918 Letter from China

In the papers from my great-great Aunt Katie was this letter from a friend who must have been on a missionary mission in China. It is dated 1918, and is written on paper made from bamboo.  At the time of this letter, Katie was living on a farm outside of a tiny town in the middle of the Great Plains. She seems to get letters from friends that traveled all over.

The letter documents the practice of some people in China who got rid of baby girls. I tried finding "Kutien" on a map, but that seems to be the English translation of either a district of Fuzhou, or of Gutian. There was a lot of missionary activity in that region before WWII.

"Kutien, China April 6, 1918

Dear Miss Bookless - Thus far the New Year has been fulfilling your wishes to me. It has been bringing joy and peace to me. The work goes nicely. Yesterday morning we had another baby left at our gate. A two day old girl wrapped in old rags and placed in a little basket and this hung on a bush. But this casting away of baby girls gets less and less all the time. We sent her to the City Magistrate but it was beautiful to see the way our Chinese Christians took pity on the little creature. They wanted to keep her but the Magistrate wants to stop this kind of work so we must send the cast a-way babies to him and

he tries to find out who is guilty. They would be punished if discovered. The baby will be put in the City Orphanage and no knowing what will become of it afterward. It is hard to have to see such things.

Again thanking you for your New Years Greetings. I am

Your Friend
Laura Frazey

This is Chinese paper made of bamboo pith."


Jenna said…
These letters are an interesting look into the past and a reminder that we're really not so advanced - at least emotionally. Plus you get to see a side of a family member that we might not have known about. Your Aunt must have been a great friend to so many people!

Hope you continue on.
Ian Welch said…
I believe Miss Frazey was with the Methodist Episcopal Church mission in Kutien, also known as Kucheng. In modern Chinese it is Gutian. It is located about 90 miles nw of Foochow in Fujian province. Easily found on Google Maps.

Ian Welch, Canberra, Australia

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